I have read today that Prince Charles bought Highgrove, his home in Gloucestershire, because it was near the Beaufort Hunt. He clearly, at the time, supported foxhunting as does his wife the Duchess of Cornwall. In November 2004, The Guardian newspaper, reported that Prince Charles was the then country’s most eminent foxhunter with no intention of stopping until it was made illegal. It was subsequently made illegal. They report that he said, “If the Labour government ever gets round to banning foxhunting, I might as well leave this country and spend the rest of my life skiing.”
One of the great problems with wishing to approve the continuing existance of royalty in the UK is their long attachment to countryside pursuits which are often plainly cruel such as shooting birds and foxhunting. Foxhunting was and always will be cruel. Decent people don’t entertain themselves by being cruel to another species.
Prince Charles is linked to conservation. He has had a lifelong commitment to conservation work. For me, the word “conservation” means conservation of nature and the animals that live within it. Conservation is about protecting all of nature. You can’t be cruel and kill animals for pleasure on the one hand and on the other declare to the world that you are a conservationist.
The trouble is that Prince Charles was raised within the Royal Family. They have distorted his view of life. It is a parallel universe and no doubt he was indoctrinated into believing that it is perfectly acceptable to chase an animal across the countryside with hounds, to terrify that animal, and to eventually tear the animal to pieces all for the entertainment of the people participating. How he can justify that is beyond my comprehension.
The Mirror newspaper reports in 2017 that Prince Charles claimed that foxhunting was “romantic”. At the time he was trying to persuade Tony Blair not to ban the cruel bloodsport. He lobbied the prime minister. The Hunting Act 2014 became law in February 2005 which banned hunting foxes with hounds.
Prince Charles wrote to the government and his letter can be seen under a Freedom of Information Act disclosure. He wrote: “There is complete bewilderment that the government is apparently responding to calls to ban something which is genuinely environmentally friendly, which uses no modern technology, which does not pollute the countryside, which is completely natural – in that it relies entirely on man’s ancient and indeed romantic relationship with dogs and horses.”
Not a mention in that section of his letter about the inherent cruelty of the pastime. I wonder whether it ever crosses his mind that it is cruel. Prince Charles continues in this letter to say that some hunt saboteurs changed their minds to support it in the belief that (in the words of Prince Charles), “the welfare of the actual fox is best ensured by a continuation of hunting, albeit with some changes to the way it’s currently organised and regulated.”
How can the welfare of a fox be ensured by killing it after a long and terrifying chase by a horde of hounds and people who’ve had a tipple of port or champagne before they set off?